15 December 2019 Military News
- Afghan Officials Confirm US Troop Drawdown Plans VOA 15 Dec 2019 -- Officials in Afghanistan confirmed Sunday the United States plans to withdraw thousands of troops from the country, insisting the move stemmed from a mutual understanding between the two allied nations.
- US Intends to Announce Withdrawal of 4,000 Troops From Afghanistan Next Week - Reports Sputnik 15 Dec 2019 -- The Trump administration plans to announce next week a withdrawal of a total of 4,000 US servicemen from Afghanistan in the wake of the resumption of the talks between Washington and Taliban, media reported, citing US officials.
Defense Policy / Programs
- AFRL completes initial Ultra LEAP flight tests US Air Force 15 Dec 2019 -- The Air Force Research Laboratory's Center for Rapid Innovation has successfully completed initial flight tests for a revolutionary Unmanned Aerial System with a customizable suite of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tools that supports extended missions.
- US Plans to Test Two New Missiles Banned By INF Treaty By Year-End - Russian Military Sputnik 16 Dec 2019 -- The United States plans to carry out test launches of two new medium-range missiles that were previously banned by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty before the end of this year, Russian Strategic Missile Forces commander Col. Gen. Sergei Karakaev said on Sunday.
- Can Russia And The U.S. Agree To Keep A Lid On Their Nuclear Arsenals? RFE/RL 15 Dec 2019 -- One major Cold War-era weapons treaty has collapsed. Another, aimed at building trust among the United States, Russia, and other countries, is under severe strain. Washington and Moscow are modernizing their arsenals, building new, more advanced weapons.
- Russian Corvette Shadowing USS Ross Destroyer in Black Sea – Military Sputnik 15 Dec 2019 -- Russia dispatched a guided missile corvette, Vyshny Volochek, to shadow a US destroyer, USS Ross, after it entered the southwestern Black Sea, the Russian military operations command said Sunday.
- Aerial early warning, reconnaissance training boosts PLA Navy's capability in S. China Sea Global Times 15 Dec 2019 -- A naval aviation division of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command wrapped up an aerial early warning and reconnaissance training exercise recently, which experts said will boost China's defense capability in the South China Sea as US warships and aircraft have trespassed frequently into Chinese territorial waters and airspace.
- Iran capable of responding to enemies' at first moment of aggression IRNA 15 Dec 2019 -- Minister of Defense and Logistics of the Armed Forces Brigadier-General Amir Hatami said on Sunday that the enemy has accepted the reality of Iranian power, resolve, and preparedness of the defense forces because they have seen that the country is capable of reacting at the first moment to possible aggression.
- Enemies can test Iranian modern military hardware IRNA 15 Dec 2019 -- Army Commander Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi said on Sunday that Iran does not invite the enemies; however, they can test Iranian modern military hardware.
- IRGC Navy commander says foreign vessels' move monitored in Persian Gulf Press TV 15 Dec 2019 -- Iran's naval forces are closely watching the movement of any foreign vessel in the Persian Gulf waters, a commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has said, warning against the presence of extra-regional countries in that territory.
- Saudi Arabia establishes military base on Yemeni island near Bab el-Mandeb: Report Press TV 15 Dec 2019 -- Saudi Arabia is reportedly constructing a military base on a strategic Yemeni island as the Riyadh regime seeks to consolidate a foothold in the crisis-hit Arab country in the wake of a devastating Saudi-led military onslaught that has killed thousands of Yemenis and reduced critical infrastructure to rubble.
- Ankara sends maritime deal with Libya to parliament for approval Press TV 15 Dec 2019 -- The Turkish government has sent to the parliament the text of a military agreement it reached with Libya's internationally-recognized government for approval, moving closer to military support for the Tripoli-based unity Government of National Accord (GNA).
- Turkish Leader Threatens To Close Key U.S. Base If Sanctions Imposed RFE/RL 15 Dec 2019 -- Turkey's president threatened to close two strategic military bases used by the United States and NATO if Washington imposes sanctions in response for Turkey's purchase of a Russia antiaircraft system.
- Erdogan Threatens to Close Incirlik Air Base, Used by US Forces, if Washington Imposes Sanctions Sputnik 15 Dec 2019 -- A series of hostile moves between the United States and Turkey began after Ankara's purchase of Russian S-400 air defence systems and the country's operation in northern Syria.
- HMS Scott provides support for search UK MOD 15 Dec 2019 -- HMS SCOTT has arrived in Drake Passage to the south of Chile and is assisting in the search for debris from the Chilean C130
- OPCW probe team rejects watchdog's report on Syria 'chemical attack': WikiLeaks Press TV 15 Dec 2019 -- WikiLeaks has released a new cache of internal documents revealing that members of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), tasked with investigating a suspected "chemical attack" on Syria's Douma, had protested the watchdog's final report, saying it misrepresented their conclusions on the incident.
- Libya's GNA Says Qatar Confirmed Its Support Amid Fresh Assault on Tripoli Sputnik 15 Dec 2019 -- The Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) of Fayez Sarraj said on Saturday that Qatar has confirmed its support for GNA and restated its position against the operation of the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
- Fighting Stalls After 'Final Assault' on Tripoli Fails to End War VOA 15 Dec 2019 -- Libya has two governments. They are at war with each other and both have TV news channels.
- Libya's High Council of State Slams Egypt for Spurning UN-Backed Government Sputnik 15 Dec 2019 -- Libya's High Council of State advising the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord slammed Egypt on Saturday for denying it recognition in favour of its eastern-based rival.
- Turkish ships chase Israeli vessel out of Cypriot waters Press TV 15 Dec 2019 -- Turkish navy ships have intercepted an Israeli research vessel in Cypriot waters, over which Ankara claims jurisdiction, forcing it to leave the area in a move that could negatively impact an ambitious Israeli project to pipe natural gas to Europe.
- Israeli Vessel Chased Out of Cypriot Waters by Turkish Navy Ships - Reports Sputnik 15 Dec 2019 -- Earlier this month, Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez unveiled plans to conduct further oil and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean Sea after signing a memorandum of understanding with Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).
- Rancor Fills the Airwaves Ahead of Trump Impeachment VOA 15 Dec 2019 -- The rancor from the imminent impeachment of President Donald Trump played out on Sunday's news talk shows in the U.S., with no political agreement on the merits of the case against him.
- Trump posing 'threat' to national security: Nadler Press TV 15 Dec 2019 -- US House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler has defended the impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, calling the US president a "threat" to national security.
- Kremlin Spokesman Downplays Improving U.S.-Russian Relations After Lavrov Trip RFE/RL 15 Dec 2019 -- The Kremlin's chief spokeswoman has downplayed the prospects for improving U.S.-Russian relations following meetings by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Washington, D.C.
- Lavrov's Washington Visit Cannot 'Turn the Tide' on US-Russia Crisis – Kremlin Sputnik 15 Dec 2019 -- Even a visit to Washington by such veteran diplomat as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov cannot relieve tension between the two countries right now, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.
- U.S. Senate Panel To Debate Russian Sanctions Bill 'From Hell' This Week RFE/RL 15 Dec 2019 -- A Senate panel will take up discussion of a hard-hitting Russia sanctions bill at its next business meeting after skipping a vote earlier this month on the controversial legislation.
- Germany's Top Diplomat Contradicts Putin, Says Russia Never Asked To Extradite Chechen Fighter RFE/RL 15 Dec 2019 -- Germany's top diplomat denied Moscow requested the extradition of an ethnic Chechen before he was murdered in Berlin, contradicting a statement made by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- US Secretly Expels Chinese Diplomats for Intruding on Military Base – Reports Sputnik 15 Dec 2019 -- The United States has expelled two Chinese diplomats for allegedly driving unannounced into a sensitive military base near Norfolk in the US state of Virginia, The New York Times reported Sunday.
- US 'Coordinating Closely' With Allies After North Korea's New Test – State Dept Sputnik 15 Dec 2019 -- The United States has been in close contact with South Korea and Japan after a recent test at the North Korea's satellite launch site, a State Department spokesperson said Saturday.
- Iran detects foreign spying malware on Govt servers IRNA 15 Dec 2019 -- Iran's Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi said on Sunday that Iran detected foreign spying malware on the Government servers and the related suspects are under investigation.
- Iran Says Second Cyberattack Defused Within Week RFE/RL 15 Dec 2019 -- A senior government official in Tehran says Iran has "defused" a second cyberattack against the country in less than a week.
- Iran's natural gas processing capacity hits 328.5 bcm: Official Press TV 15 Dec 2019 -- A senior Iranian oil Ministry official says the total capacity for processing natural gas in the country has reached 900 million cubic meters a day, or 328.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) a year.
- Iran-US Prisoner Swap Not Start of 'Any New Path' - Iran's National Security Council Sputnik 15 Dec 2019 -- Keivan Khosravi, the spokesman for Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said on Saturday that the recent successful prisoner swap between Tehran and Washington is not a start of "any new path".
- China vows to further open up Global Times 15 Dec 2019 -- China is expected to deepen reforms while pushing its market opening to a new level next year, a move that Chinese economists said will inject momentum into its economic growth amid a tougher external environment.
- World Uyghur Congress plays key role trying to split China Global Times 15 Dec 2019 -- The World Uyghur Congress (WUC), an organization that is reportedly found to be linked to terrorist groups and receives money from Western political organizations, has long played an important role in smearing China's policies in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and cementing Western media stereotypes of China.
- 6 killed in protests against contentious Indian citizenship law Press TV 15 Dec 2019 -- Six people have been killed in violent protests in northeastern India against a controversial citizenship law, which the United Nations and rights groups have criticized as highly discriminatory towards Muslims.
- Protests in New Delhi Against New India Citizenship Law Turn Violent VOA 15 Dec 2019 -- Protests in New Delhi against a controversial citizenship law turned violent Sunday when police entered a university campus and used tear gas against students demonstrating.
- UN Rights Official Urges India to Scrap New Citizenship Law VOA 15 Dec 2019 -- The Office of the U.N.'s top human rights official is urging India to scrap its new Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which it says discriminates against Muslims.
- Clashes Between Protesters, Police Resume in Beirut Sputnik 15 Dec 2019 -- Lebanese security forces and the military are again using tear gas and rubber sticks against violent Shiite youths in the area of Martyr's Square in central Beirut, where order had been briefly restored earlier in the day, an activist said.
- Ex-Iraqi PM censures US blacklisting of counter-terror figures Press TV 15 Dec 2019 -- Former Iraqi prime minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has condemned a recent decision by the United States to slap sanctions on leaders of the pro-government Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU) or Hashd al-Sha'abi.
- Two Gas Fields With Capacity of 1Bln Cubic Meters Put Into Operation in Syria - Ministry Sputnik 16 Dec 2019 -- Two gas fields with a capacity of one million cubic meters, located to the east of the Syrian city of Homs, were put into operation, the Syrian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources said on Sunday.
- UK government's priority is to leave EU on Jan 31, secure trade deal: Minister Press TV 15 Dec 2019 -- A senior British cabinet minister says the top priority of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government is to leave the European Union on January 31 and secure a new trade deal with the bloc by the end of next year.
- Rights group accuses Malawi police of extrajudicial killings Press TV 15 Dec 2019 -- A report by a civil rights group has accused Malawian police of carrying out extrajudicial killings in a systematic campaign against hardcore criminals dubbed "operation elimination".
- Bolivia's interim president: Arrest warrant to be issued against Morales Press TV 15 Dec 2019 -- Bolivia's interim leader Jeanine Anez has threatened that former president Evo Morales, who has been in exile since his forced resignation last month, will face arrest should he return to the country.
- Bolivian Interim President Says Arrest Warrant Will Be Issued Against Morales Sputnik 15 Dec 2019 -- Earlier in the month, the nation's former President Evo Morales left Mexico for Argentina, after its President-elect Alberto Fernandez granted him political asylum.
- Southeast Asian Environmental Activists Say Region Must do More VOA 15 Dec 2019 -- Southeast Asian environmental activists – including young counterparts to teenage activist and Time magazine person of the year Greta Thunberg – are concerned they are not getting the attention that the climate emergency deserves, complaining that the region's authorities are leaving this month's climate negotiations in Madrid, also known as COP25, without committing to new climate action plans for 2020, as other nations have done.
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